There has been a lot of buzz in the search marketing world of late, after Google recently published an update to a very important document — the search quality raters guidelines.
What are search quality raters guidelines?
Google’s sizeable team of search quality evaluators — numbering as many as 10,000, according to some estimates — use these guidelines to assess the quality of a web page from a human perspective.
The goal of this real-world quality checking is to provide feedback to Google’s search algorithm engineers. They also matter outside of Google because any changes to these guidelines provide us with a rare insight into that complicated and elusive algorithm.
These human raters do not directly affect rankings for an individual website. If a poor result surfaces for a search query, the team don’t rank that site down.
Instead, they give feedback on the existence of poor quality results, in order to allow the engineers to tweak the algorithm and improve those results.
In this way, a website could be indirectly affected by these quality reviews, especially if the whole algorithm downgrades their rankings for a particular type of query.
You can find the 164-page document here (PDF download). Be warned: it is a pretty hefty read. However, we have been through the document and one particular update caught our eye.
Reputation of the content creator
A significant development in the latest update sees a greater emphasis placed on the reputation of the content creator, which could be an individual author, an organisation or the website itself.
Google now wants the raters to dig deeper into the writer’s background. How well known are they for that subject? Do they have the credentials in the area they are writing about?
An opportunity for accountants
You guys are the pros, and this is a chance for you to take stock and make sure your expertise shines through online.
For a long time here at PracticeWeb, we have emphasised the importance of a strong ‘about us’ page. They are often the most-viewed page on our clients’ sites, so make sure your ‘about us’ page isn’t just about your firm but the individuals working there, too.
- Does each partner have a profile?
- Do you shout about awards or recognition, accreditations and memberships?
- Do any of your partners have any social media profiles that can be linked to?
We cannot know for certain what impact a well-developed author profile will have on search rankings, but we are confident Google wants to incorporate these signals if they are asking their quality raters for feedback on author reputation.
The fact that a strong ‘about us’ section also emphasises your professional credentials to prospective clients makes this an area worth working on.